Animatronics Academy

A student at the Animatronics Academy Career Camp focuses on creating an animatronic bird.

REDLANDS — In partnership with the Garner Holt Foundation, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools hosted the Animatronics Academy Career Camp, an immersive education and career exploration event. Students from schools across San Bernardino County Schools participated from Jan. 5 to 7.

“The skills you will learn over the next several days will help you succeed no matter what career path you choose,” County Superintendent Ted Alejandre said in his welcome address to the students. “The ability to think both critically and creatively will be one of your most important assets throughout your life.”

Eligible students in grades six through 12, who are enrolled in San Bernardino County Schools or programs, attended the camp each day at the Garner Holt Education through Imagination headquarters in Redlands.

Through hands-on exploration of robotics, engineering, advanced manufacturing, automation and the visual and performing arts, students gained insight into the creative industries through theme park animatronics.

“I thought it was really cool to see how small items like pieces of plastic and whatnot can become something big like an animatronic,” said Olivia, a student from Wilson Elementary. “I believe that most people think that children don’t really have what it takes to do something big in this world, but that’s not true. They can actually do really good things.”

Garner Holt, the world’s leading producer of animatronics for theme parks, inspired and guided students during the camp.

“It’s all about the success of the kids and giving them hope for the future,” said Holt. “County Schools has been so supportive of what we’re doing… I think it’s great that schools are seeing the value.”

Animatronids

County Superintendent Ted Alejandre, left, and Garner Holt, middle interact with students participating in the Animatronics Academy Career Camp.

Over the course of Animatronics Academy Career Camp, students were encouraged to share ideas, give and receive feedback, practice the art of collaboration, and, ultimately, invest in themselves through the relationships they build.

Throughout the experience, students developed life and leadership skills as they worked in teams to create animatronic birds for a show at the end of the week. The students learned a number of skills including coding, programming, set design and script writing throughout the construction and production phases. The camp culminated with a showcase that allowed students to spotlight their work, share their process and reflect on what the experience meant to them.

Transportation was provided to ensure equitable access to the camp for all San Bernardino County Schools students who were eligible to attend.

The Garner Holt Foundation provides the Animatronics Academy Career Camp, a multi-day experiential STEAM learning event, which capitalizes on the industry experience and expertise of Garner Holt Productions, Inc. and their worldwide portfolio of theme park animatronic design, production, animation and installation.